So, Mike is now 8 days post-transplant of his stem cells. He is doing extremely well, and his doctor says he is the most boring patient on their unit. His side effects are quite minimal, and probably won’t get any worse. He has been able to eat for the past 4-5 days, and stopped losing weight. His blood counts are following the predictable pattern, so right now they are very low, which is why they want him to be under the watchful eye of Emory. He was visited by a yoga therapist today, and had a session of medication. No, meditation. He looked very relaxed. I tripped along with the session, and it was okay, but for a cat meditation is second nature.
Judy and Michelle were here for a nice visit today, and they both brought me treats. Judy’s brother, Greg, also came by for a visit. We also had a visit from the rabbi who makes hospital rounds, and that was good as well. She said a Hebrew prayer for Mike’s recovery. We were also surprised by a visit from Richard Donkle. You may recall that he is the HOA president of Happy Meadows. He brought good wishes and prayers from our neighbors. He was surprised to see me here. He didn’t think they would let cats up on the unit, but as I have said many times, I am no ordinary cat.
So, Mike says he has been thinking about the chemo process that he is undergoing. On the one hand it is high-tech, ingenious, and probably dramatically life extending, but at the same time seems barbaric. They harvest your bone marrow cells, give you a lethal dose of chemo, and then rescue you by giving you your cells back. The lethal dose of chemo is the barbaric part. Barbarism used to be the norm in medical practice. Treatments included blood-letting, leeches, grotesque surgeries, and cauterizations. Women used to die at a rate of 50% in childbirth, mostly from puerperal fever, a streptococcal infection spread by the doctors not washing their hands as they went from attending one patient to another. The wealthy always had a higher death rate in smallpox epidemics because they could afford doctors.
There is a story about St. Francis of Assisi who used to cry all the time because he thought so much about the suffering of his Saviour. His crying led to keratitis, an erosion of the corneas. This was very painful. You may recall that he used to refer to the creatures of the woods as brother fox, brother wolf, etc. He was brought to a doctor who proposed to cure his keratitis by cauterizing his eyes with a hot iron poker. The saint agreed to the procedure, and referred to the poker as brother fire. If this story is true, he died a blind man. I hope it isn’t. Anyway, I have heard Mike refer to the chemo he received as brother chemo. You might think he is crazy, but it can help to reframe a situation to make it more palatable.
We hope the new year has been good for you so far. We hope to be home by the middle of next week, but that is entirely up to Dr. K. Please keep the prayer energy going, because it is the most important element of our recovery. We love you all! Bye bye from Happy Meadows!